World Cup last 16 as it happened: Croatia beat Japan on penalties

Maeda and Perisic scored in normal time before Japan missed three spotkicks in shootout


Watch the penalties here:

Read the match report here:

Stay tuned on Irish Times Sport for Brazil against South Korea next.


Heartache for Japan as they have three penalties saved. Croatia did their research and Croatian keeper Livakovic is the hero.

Never write off Croatia, as last tournament’s finalists progress to play Brazil or South Korea in the quarter-finals. For Japan, they had a fantastic tournament with lots of positive football, a sad way to end but they can be proud of their performances - wins against Spain and Germany will live long in the memory.


Yoshida misses! Oh dear, another save by Livakovic. Pasalic scores. Croatia win!

Croatia 3 Japan 1 on pens


Asano scores as send the keeper the wrong way, first Japan player to score his penalty. Livaja misses, he hits the post after a casual run up!

Croatia 2 Japan 1 on pens


Pasalic scores, straight down his left! Mitoma misses! Again Livakovic saves! Croatia in good shape. Brozovic scores down the middle.

Croatia 2 Japan 0 on pens


Japan to go first... Japan’s Minamino misses! Livakovic saves a weak penalty to his left.



It’s penalties. Japan or Croatia, who’s going to do it? Very even game, somebody has to do it. No higher drama than penalties in a World Cup. Let’s go.


ET 30 mins: Last chance for Croatia, Meyer pulls it wide after Japan had lost the ball in midfield.


ET 29 mins: Japan really sittin back now but Croatia without Modric and Kovacic not doing much other than hopefully play it into the box. A good move though started by Brozovic ends up in a good clearance. Another attack by Croatia is blocked by Tanaka and he goes down after being hit by the ball.


ET 25 mins: Gonda continuing with the tackle of pumping it long every time he catches the ball. Asano holds it up this time. Japan surrounding the Croatian box, ball played in but Croatia safely deal with it.


ET 22 mins: Croatia win a corner, Gvardiol and Lovren go up. Decent corner and Gonda flies out and punches it safely away.


ET 19 mins: Mitoma plays it low towards Osano but cleared away, maybe not the best decision. Croatia’s defence stands strong.


ET 16 mins: On come Orsic and Livaja for Croatia, very attacking subs for Croatia or players to take penalties. Budimir the sub is subbed off, as is Perisic. Interesting substitutions by Dalic.


HALF-TIME IN EXTRA TIME: Japan 1 Croatia 1


ET 15 mins: Japan break with Mitoma, he runs a long distance, turns inside and his powerful shot is saved if straight at the keeper, Minamino’s shot is blocked, out for a corner. Bit of life in Japan again. Great run.


ET 12 mins: Juranovic long throw falls to Perisic but Sakai defends it well. Japan keeper Gonda taking his time and his long ball goes nowhere.


ET 9 mins: A lot of pressure on Japan after a few clumsy touches in defence but they escape with a foul. Off comes Modric, surprise one if there are potential penalties. Kovacic also off. On come Majer and Vlasic.


ET 5 mins: Mitoma drives at the defence and passes to Asano but he can’t hold up the ball. Then, Japan get another corner. Tomayisu goes for the ball and clashes heads with Pasalic. Ouch, that’s a sore one.


ET (extra time) 2 mins: Perisic makes an important defensive header out for a Japan corner. Ito’s corner goes front post to Taniguchi who doesn’t get the header on target.


FULL-TIME: Japan 1 Croatia 1

It’s extra time in Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar. Tough to call this one. Croatia responded well to the goal. Will we see a breakthrough in extra time or will it go to penalties for the first time this tournament?

To recap here were the goals:


92 mins: Perisic with the long throw but Budimir fouls Yoshida. Heading for extra time.


90 mins: Are we heading for extra time? Kovacic gets a yellow card for a tough tackle on Ito. Only four minutes of stoppage time.


87 mins: Pasalic attacks the cross by Perisic but can’t get the header on target. Former Liverpool player Minamino on for Doan for Japan.


84 mins: Croatia probe for a winner but Japan standing up strong. They try to release Perisic but ball goes out. Crowds try to rally their teams for the final minutes.


80 mins: Good turn by Tomayisu in the box but instead of shooting he tries to cut it back but there’s nobody there.


78 mins: Budimir wins the ball high up the pitch and Perisic runs at the defence. Tomayisu with an important block as it just misses the target. Modric’s corner falls to Barisic who is about to thump the ball in but Doan with a fantastic interception to clear it.


75 mins: Juranovic with the cross into the box, Pasalic heads wide weakly though. Sakai on for Kamada, right back for attacking midfield so maybe a change of shape for Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu.


70 mins: Croatia sub, Kramaric off, Pasalic on. Twenty minutes left plus stoppage time, the game is evenly poised.


66 mins: Asano and Mitoma on for Nagatomo and Maeda for Japan. Brozovic to Kramaric and a cross into sub Budimir, but he mistimes the header after a deflection.


63 mins: Oof. Croatia’s star man Luka Modric nearly with a moment of magic as he strikes sweetly from 25 yards but it’s a brilliant save by Gonda. Croatia pile on the pressure.


60 mins: Morita plays to Doan but his shot is tame at the keeper after some nice interplay. Budimer on for Croatia for Petkovic.


58 mins: Endo whips a fantastic long shot but it’s saved well by Livakovic. Modric wins it high up and Perisic drives through again to the box but can’t get the pass away, he’s been a menace this half so far.


55 mins: GOAL FOR CROATIA! Ivan Perisic with a powerful header against the run of play. Lovren puts in the ball, whipped in and it’s a fantastic contact with the head, right into the corner. Game on.


54 mins: Ito runs at the defence, lays back to Endo releases him again. Great cross for Maeda but Croatia get it out for a corner. Doan’s corner the Japan player can’t swing it around and Croatia clear.


52 mins: Barisic puts in a cross and Petkovic falls on the ground looking for a penalty but referee doesn’t entertain it.


50 mins: Great take and turn by Doan in midfield and finds a pocket, playing the ball into Maeda but well blocked by Lovren.


47 mins: Japan start the half strongly as Kamada gets the ball 25 yards out from goal but the Eintracht Frankfurt player blazes it over. Perisic plays a ball into the box but well cleared by Japan.


HALF-TIME: Japan 1 Croatia 0

It’s Celtic’s Daizen Maeda who gives Japan the lead in an even, entertaining contest in Qatar. Some quality deliveries into the box from both teams, Doan with the killer ball for the goal that caused havoc. Japan well worthy of their lead but all to play for in the second half.

Here’s the goal again:


44 mins: GOAL FOR JAPAN! Maeda sweeps it in after clever play by Doan. Dangerous ball played in by Doan but Juranovic clears out for a corner despite the keeper coming for it. The corner goes short to Doan, super cross falls to Maeda. To be checked by VAR... it stands.


41 mins: Yoshida rolls on his ankle, but he limps back into position for the Croatia free-kick. Counter sees into Ito play in Maeda behind. Endo to Kamada in the box, he perfectly dummies the defender... but he can’t get the shot on target. Disappointing miss.


38 mins: The man in the mask Gvardiol limping a bit, which will be something to watch for Croatia. Both teams give away the ball to each other a few times in midfield. Game gone a bit quiet last 10 minutes.


34 mins: Finally a good spell of Japanese possession as the game gets a little cagey. Endo and Maeda try to combine but they can’t keep the ball under control.


28 mins: Amazing outside of the boot pass by Modric sets up Croatia’s period of pressure. A cross from Barisic is nodded on by Perisic but Kramaric can’t get onto it on the back post.


25 mins: Modric plays a ball into the box that comes off Perisic and then Gvardiol hits the ball well over from the rebound. Another long ball by Gvardiol then causes Japan trouble as Petkovic gets in behind but he’s too slow and loses it.


21 mins: A short free-kick doesn’t work out and Gvardiol easily heads away. Ito with a lot of very good old-fashioned wing play, beats his man and puts in another dangerous cross but the keeper collects.


18 mins: Another good cross by Japan, this time Nagatoma but Lovren gets enough on it to get away from Maeda. Ball cleared and Petkovic is muscled off the ball. Gvardiol with a heavy tackle on Doan and free-kick in a dangerous area.


16 mins: Modric with a great long low through ball to Kramaric but his cross is cleared. Croatia probing, looking for an opening.


13 mins: Some great touches by Perisic to keep the ball under control in the box but Japan sweep up. Great low cross by Ito right between the defender and the keeper. Maeda just misses it. The quality of Japan’s crosses so far have been excellent.


9 mins: Big save by Japan’s Gonda, Long ball by Croatia and the defender Tomiyasu gets it wrong with an underhit back pass. Perisic is one-on-one under no pressure, should have done a lot better.


7 mins: Croatia get their foot on the ball and have a spell of possession. Modric well tackled by Kamada though as he went into one of his pockets.


4 mins: Maeda wins an early free-kick as he shows his pace. Great ball into a dangerous area but just passes everyone and it ends up with a corner. Short corner and great cross by Endo but headed wide by Taniguchi. Again Maeda charges down the Croatian goalkeeper. Lively start.


Tactically, expect Croatia to dominate possession and the great Luka Modric to try to play the game at his pace, one different to what the quick and energetic Japanese want to play. That should be the great tension of the game, Japan looking to press high in packs and pick their moments to pick their pocket, as they did against Spain and Germany.


Do you agree with the predicted result of the monkey simulation?

This is actually the third meeting between Croatia and Japan in the World Cup, despite Croatia being a footballing nation for less than 30 years. Croatia beat Japan 1-0 in 1998, while it was a 0-0 draw in 2006. Japan beat Croatia 4-3 in the Kirin Japan Cup in 1997.


Best nicknames of teams at the World Cup? Socceroos for Australia has to be up there but Japan’s Samurai Blue is one of the best. It is more than just a nickname to Japan, writes Andy Hunter:

To hear the veteran defender Yuto Nagatomo speak on the eve of their last-16 tie against Croatia was to receive a rousing education in how it relates to the character of a national team fighting to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

“To use the analogy of the samurai,” the 36-year-old began, “before they go into battle they polish their weapons and improve their technique. But if they are scared in battle they will not be able to use their weapons or their technique properly. It is the same in football.

“Tactics and technique are important but if you are scared on the field they are useless. To maximise all the tactics we have been practising in the last four years we need courage. The Japanese samurai is famous around the world and we would like to fight like samurais. Tomorrow we would like to showcase how courageously we fight.”

Wise words, indeed.


Team news:

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu has brought Takehiro Tomiyasu into his defence in place of the suspended Ko Itakura as one of three changes to his side. Moriyasu also brought Wataru Endo and Ritsu Doan back into his midfield at the expense of Takefusa Kubo and Ao Tanaka, who scored against Spain.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic made two changes to his largely settled starting line-up, bringing in Borna Barisic for Borna Sosa at left back and Bruno Petkovic for Marko Livaja in midfield.

Japan: Shuichi Gonda, Shogo Taniguchi, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Wataru Endo, Ritsu Doan, Hidemasa Morita, Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Daizen Maeda

Croatia: Dominik Livakovic, Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Barisic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the World Cup last 16 match between Japan and Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar. Japan surprised the world by beating Germany and Spain in the group stage and topping their difficult group. Can they continue this form against Croatia, who beat Canada and drew with Belgium and Morocco in the group stage? Kickoff is at 3pm.